You went out today to run your daily errands when while you’re driving down the road, a nice little pebble decides to skip up from the ground and damage your windshield. Depending on the type and size of the damage, this may be repaired without the need to replace the complete windshield. In some cases, this repair could be performed at no cost to you.
There are different types of windshield damage. The most common damage to windshields is considered to be “rock chips” and cracks. A rock chip is a non-technical term, commonly used by the public, for damage on a windshield caused by road debris i.e., rocks or pebbles. A windshield crack is a single line of separation that may emanate from an impact point. The following will describe the types of rock chips and cracks that can be repaired.
There are four different types of rock chips
Bulls-eye or partial bulls-eye rock chips are some of the most common windshield rock chips that can be repaired. They contain damage that is marked by a separated cone in the outer layer of glass that results in a dark circle with an impact point. A “bulls-eye” rock chip can be repaired if the diameter is no larger than one inch.
A star chip is another common windshield rock chip that has damage that exhibits a series of legs that emanate from the break. Star chips can be repaired if the chip’s total diameter (including legs) does not to exceed 3 inches.
A combination chip is a rock chip that has damage with multiple characteristics. Those characteristics can include a star within a bulls-eye or short or long crack(s) emanating from the damage. This can be repaired if the diameter of the body (excluding legs) does not exceed 2 inches.
A surface pit is a nick in the glass associated with normal wear and tear that does not penetrate to the plastic inner layer. This can be repaired if the damaged area has a diameter of not less than 1/8 inch.
There are five different types of windshield cracks
A crack that is 6 inches or less is called a “short crack”
A “long crack” is a crack that is longer than 6 inches
“Edge cracks” are any crack that extends to an edge of the windshield
A “floater crack” is any crack that does not extend to an edge of the windshield
“Stress cracks” are a crack that extends from an edge and lacks an impact point.
Most windshield cracks can be repaired if the crack is no longer than 12 inches. Stress cracks and edge cracks that intersect more than one edge cannot be repaired.
Now that you know what can and can’t be repaired, there’s one more thing to consider. Time!! Many factors like extreme heat or cold and even your air conditioning cooling down the windshield on a hot day can cause the damage to get worse. The longer you wait to repair the damage, it could spread and may turn a repairable situation into a full blown windshield replacement costing YOU more. Most insurance companies WILL cover a rock chip on the windshield at no cost to you. Speak with your insurance agent to get more information on what they will cover when it comes to windshield damage.
Now you have 3 options. You can pay out of pocket, you can have your insurance company cover the cost, or you can do the repair yourself. The cost out of pocket will vary from $30-$60, depending on the company you chose. Filing with insurance is easy because it is no cost to you, and the auto glass repair company deals with the paperwork. You can also attempt the repair yourself, but if you do not feel comfortable, i would suggest calling a professional. There is a good step by step windshield repair Instructable available, as well as other information online.
How it will look after the repair depends on the technician performing the repair. Most technicians will give you a 60-99% cosmetic improvement, meaning that there will be little to no noticeable damage after the repair is complete. Structurally, all repairs should achieve 100% strength once the products have cured. Ask the technician any questions you have before they start the repair. Also keep in mind that all chips and crack are not repairable.
Now, you should have a better understanding of the benefits of windshield repair as opposed to replacement. Remember to shop around and look for the best price with top quality work. And also remember to speak with your insurance agent about windshield damage coverage. It may cost you little to nothing and you will have your windshield looking good as new.